I'm writing this after writing everything below, I didn't realize how long winded I'd be at 2:00AM this morning so I wanted to put the sale info up right at the top so you don't have to indulge my "Law & Order" tale if you don't want to.
This week we listed a near complete run of the magazine series "Vampirella" so let's use offer code "Vampire" and do an additional 25% off ANYTHING in the store from now until Sunday.
To get the discount, just make us an offer in eBay at 25% less than our current ask and enter offer code "vampire" in the comments section. It's that simple. This is something that's only offered through our website to our existing customers as our way of saying "thank you" for your continued business.
Now back to our regularly scheduled rambling session...
Holy wow what a week. About 2 months ago I got the dreaded "jury summons" that everyone loves to hate. I've gotten one before, about 2 years ago, and accidentally slept through the arrival time, I called and luckily my group hadn't been called so I was off the hook I guess.
This time though I wasn't so fortunate. I called the day prior to the service date to see if my "group" was required to report... and sure enough... it was. Don't get me wrong, I understand the need for this cornerstone of our justice system to exist. After all, if no one showed up when they were summoned (quick aside, how awesome is the word summoned... I almost didn't mind having to go knowing that I wasn't asked... I was summoned.. anyway), then we'd probably just have one judge listening to everything and making a decision unilaterally. Sometimes that may not be a problem, but having the 10-14 people that are on a jury discuss points of a case and go back and forth arguing the evidence provided in a case makes the whole thing unique, and probably a lot more fair.
So anyway, there I was Tuesday at 8:00AM (way before my wake time), standing in the rain waiting for a shuttle bus to take me to the Atlanta Courthouse.. awesome start to a day.
I walked into the brand new "jury room" which is essentially a standard empty office building floor with airport like seating everywhere and 10+ TV's playing a very old "why it's great to be a juror" video on a loop.
There had to be 4-5 hundred people in the room, but luckliy I found the "business center" and was able to hole up and wait for my name to be called watching netflix and listing a box of Vampirella magazines.
At about 9:30 a guy gets up and starts reading out names that will be assigned to courtroom # 1. About 40 names are called, and I'm not one of them. Immediately I begin to think of every horror story I've heard where you have to sit in a room from 9-5 then home you go, having done nothing but waste a day. Luckily I had an "office on wheels" in my bag, and was able to hole up in the business center, but even still, I wasn't super stoked about the idea of sitting in a small room for 8 hours straight. Knowing if I hopped up for even a few minutes I'd lose my prime piece of real estate.
Group # 2 lucked out big time. The guy got up, said group # 2's case had just settled, and that the next 40 people were free to go... 40 up, 40 down, no Jeff.
Group # 3 was called out a few minutes later. About 5 names in, I hear a Jeff.. then a different last name, whew... but 5 more names later, Jeff... and yes, this time my time had come. I made my way down to the courtroom I was assigned to, and sat silently, like a bad toddler in timeout with 39 other silent grown-ups, awaiting the all powerful Oz to emerge from behind his/her chambers.
Can I just say, I know a court of law is a very serious place... but come on... while the judge isn't in there, and nothing is happening, is it the end of the world if my neighbor and I discuss the olympics, election, local sports team, what we had for breakfast, or ANYTHING... I mean, aren't we still in America in a courtroom. Anyway, the Judge finally emerges, and you can tell right away, this dude is stone cold. Clearly a slightly older gentleman, and not a single smile line on his face.
Now I'll spare you plenty of the details, but there was one unique thing that happened that I was sure would get me out of there by lunchtime. As I've never been selected for jury duty before, I wasn't sure exactly how this whole "jury selection" thing worked, but it essentially went like this. 40 of us started out. The lawyers for the state & defense asked us what seemed like 100 questions. Mostly general questions to identify any red flags for them I guess.
The unique thing was that they read off the area that the crime was committed in, and it was pretty close to where the ACC warehouse is. So they asked, "is anyone familiar with the location of the alleged incident?" And with as much excitement as I could muster, I tossed my hand up thinking this is the same thing as being related to the defendant. I thought, there's no way they're going to pick me for this thing, they'll think I'm biased because I know the area really well or something.
Well, not so much.
After they ask the 40 person panel 100+ questions, they bring you back in groups of 12 or 16. And ask you follow-up questions based on what you answered to originally. When it was my turn, I stood up to answer the follow-up questions from the lawyers, thinking I'd make sure to remind them that I know EXACTLY where this crime was committed, and just KNOWING I'd be out of there soon after.
After we were all questioned in smaller groups, we were all brought in for the final selection. At first we didn't need to be there, we were just asked to sit there quietly as the lawyer's picked the jury so they could see our faces if they forgot our number. That part was insanely awkward. 40 people sitting completely silently while two lawyers pass back and forth a piece of paper like they're in 4th grade math class.
About 20 minutes of that went by, then the judge said they were ready to announce the jury. Well, I was number 5, the judge said if your number is called, hop up and come sit in the jury box. I'm thinking I'm 1 minute away from heading home and being done, back to my life. Away he goes.
Juror # 1 you have been selected, Juror # 2, you have been selected, Juror # 3, you have been selected, Juror # 4, you have been selected..... at this time, I'm thrilled, they CAN'T pick 5 of 10 total people in a row, out of 40, RIGHT, that HAS to be a mathematical impossibility, RIGHT?
"Juror # 5 you have been selected." I couldn't believe it.
A few minutes later the judge released the other 30ish people that weren't selected, told us we'd be there till Friday, and proceeded to tell us it was time to get started, "state, call your first witness" and we were off to the races.
Quick point... the wheels of justice seem to only have two speeds, they either turn as slow as the earth around the sun, or they're doing donuts in the old Wal-Mart parking lot late on Saturday night. No 5 minute break to let your job or family know that YOU'RE ON A JURY UNTIL FRIDAY, nope, let's get started.
I'm not going to go into the details of the case, as it kind of seems in bad taste, after all, we're talking about a man's life here, certainly much heavier stuff than you'd probably expect to read on a comic book website. But if you're ever in the shop, feel free to ask me about it, as it was quite the case.
I have to say though, it was quite the experience. At times it felt like watching paint dry, or sitting at the DMV waiting to hear your number called, then there were times that it was every bit as thrilling as something you'd see on Law & Order, CSI, or the OJ show. And the bond you form with the other jurors is, if nothing else, incredibly unique.
The only thing I can liken it to is being apart of your wife giving birth to your first child. What I mean is this, you understand generally what happens in child birth. But it is SO much different when it's your wife or girlfriend giving birth vs. seeing it depicted on a TV show, or even than your brother's wife giving birth. Because you are IN the room, it is happening in real time, you're being asked to DO things to help, it's crazy.
Well, the courtroom isn't THAT different. Things are happening, you can't watch it on your TV and say to your husband or wife, "wow, I wouldn't have bought that" you're THERE, it's right in front of you. There's an alleged violent criminal sitting 20 feet from you, and you're being asked to recommend or not recommend they GO TO JAIL.
I relayed the experience to our store manager today like this. If you had told me at 5:30 on Monday evening when I didn't even know if I'd have to go in to the courthouse, that at 5:30 on Wednesday, I would have just been apart of finding someone guilty of a serious crime, I wouldn't have known what to think.
But that's what's so great about life I guess, one minute you can be thinking you're about to head out of jury duty an hour after you got there, the next you can realize you're in for quite the ride.
The whole experience was quite surreal, and I'd ABSOLUTELY recommend it to anyone. Jury duty is not the dentist office, it's not the DMV, it's not a line at Disney world in the middle of summer. It was actually incredibly entertaining, thought provoking, and is absolutely something I'd do again if given the opportunity. Maybe I just got lucky, got placed with a great group of people, listening to two very good lawyers under the direction of an incredibly efficient judge, hearing a case that had extra interest to me based on my proximity to the incident. I don't know, but if nothing else I certainly have a newfound respect for the legal system.
By the way, did I mention, all this "legal fun" while busting through 100 on the Pokedex this week and listing TONS of great stuff (photo's below)...Like I said before, WHEW! What a week!
Until next time, stay innocent!